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lucy4 06-08-2010 12:27 PM

My baby is 8 mo. old and we just got a call from a bilingual day care center (Spanish) which I really like (it's all organic, etc., etc.). At home we speak english, my family is russian, so they speak russian to him. Do you think introducing a third language will confuse him? I read that some research suggests that it may slow down language development, other research suggests the opposite. Any experience with that? I am 50/50 on that... :>

tommynomad 06-08-2010 05:50 PM

I say go for it. If you like the daycare for other reasons, then even better.

People get all worked up about 'slow development.' But by the time we're in JH, we're all pretty much on the same level. Introducing a 3rd language may very well confuse a daycare-aged child for a week or two. They might even speak a mishmash of multiple languages until they're about 7 or 8 years old, but more likely they'll simply figure out that each context has a different tongue. So what?

The payoff is much too huge to worry about whether my kid isn't quite as quick to learn as the neighbour's.

Bad Mama Jama 06-08-2010 06:49 PM

i would also say go for it and give it a chance. what an awesome opportunity!!!

FelixMom 06-09-2010 03:14 AM

As a trilingual family ourselves (French-Chinese-English) you have our whole-hearted support.

The only caveat is if the kid shows true language difficulty. But in that case, I feel the kid would be struggling regardless if there was only 1 language to deal with.

Good luck!

JessieBird 06-11-2010 02:29 PM

We're in the same situation. We speak English and French at home and DS's daycare is French and Spanish with only a very small about of English. I also chose it for other reasons. I'm all for it and don't care one bit if it causes any kind of delay. Everything I've read says that they catch up by 2.5 or 3, if they are delayed at all. The only challenge we've encountered so far is that it takes me longer to figure out what his new words are. I find I'm mostly listening for English (even though I also speak French, my brain's default is English) and it takes me by surprise when I realize that he's been using a French word for weeks and I just thought he was babbling! The Spanish is even harder because I don't know very much. He sometimes get frustrated when he's trying to tell me something and I don't understand it but I think that's normal for any toddler no matter how many languages they are learning.

ewe+lamb 06-14-2010 08:04 AM

Absolutely go for it, the more languages a baby has around him the better, all those different sounds and accents makes learning other languages later on much much eaiser - definitely go for it.

velochic 06-14-2010 08:22 AM

As another multi-lingual family, I'll add my support. Dd is 8 now and has always been WAY ahead in all of the languages - multi-lingualism has never caused any delays for her. We are bilingual at home with a 3rd for dd at language immersion school, where she started at 3.5 years old. It's an International Baccalaureate one-way language immersion pre - grade 12 private school and they will immerse dd in yet another language starting next year. We have never regretted our decision to send dd there. It's been a wonderful experience. Among the 3 of us, we are fluent in 7 different languages (dh 4, dd 3, me 2), so language is a very important part of our lives and I've seen nothing but positive results from exposing dd to as many as possible. All of dh's family is at least tri-lingual (but they are not American where xenophobia can be so prevalent).

Go for it! You'll be glad you did!

Momily 06-17-2010 12:28 AM

I'm a teacher of preschool aged children who works in an area with lots of multi-lingual families. I've seen many kids come from trilingual backgrounds (both families whose kids spoke 3 languages and learned a 4th from us at school, and families where we were one of the first 3). Some kids were slowed down initially, but they caught up, most didn't really show any delay ever. Very occaisionally we'd see a child who also had a disability who struggled longer term, but then it's hard to say how much they would have struggled with just one or two languages.

I'd say go for it!

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